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Project CRTC SamKnows

The project’s goal is to create a community of broadband consumers across Canada, to join the already extensive communities in the USA and the UK. Each volunteer will host a SamKnows Whitebox which will run tests on the performance of their Internet connection. Volunteers will also get access to the data collected via the SamKnows reporting system. Individuals will be able to put their own ISPs to the test and the collected Community data will be used by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the “CRTC”) to measure the current performance of ISPs across Canada.
You must register through a electronic form at the following address : measuringbroadbandcanada.com
We want to send out over 6,000 Whiteboxes to people across Canada to join the SamKnows broadband measurement Community.
The project is renewed will be renewed on a yearly basis, but we hope that this will be an on-going effort to benchmark the state of Canadian broadband.
SamKnows has built a custom hardware device that simply plugs-in to your existing router. It runs a series of tests that have been developed by SamKnows and approved by governments and academics around the world as being the best method for measuring broadband performance. It does not require a lot of technical expertise to plug-in, it does not collect any data other than about the performance of your broadband.
The SamKnows Whitebox currently performs the following tests:

1.  Multi-threaded HTTP download speed test
2.  Multi-threaded HTTP based upload speed test
3.  Availability of the connection
4.  Jitter
5.  Latency (both ICMP and UDP)
6.  Packet loss (both ICMP and UDP)
7.  DNS query resolution time
8.  DNS query failure rate
9.  Web page loading time
10. Web page loading failure rate

The results of the SamKnows tests are constantly updated on our site. You will be given a login to this site and will be able to view interactive graphs of all your test results.

You will also be emailed a “Report Card” on a monthly basis, showing the results of your tests for that month and providing an average speed for your broadband connection.
The Whitebox should be placed in between your existing router and your networked computers. Any devices that connected via ethernet cable to your existing router should instead connect to the Whitebox. This ensures that the SamKnows device is always aware of the network being used and will never run tests at a time when you require your full bandwidth to be available.
No. In the Canadian project, the Whitebox does not provide a wireless network. The wireless capabilities of the device are used purely to passively monitor nearby wireless networks for traffic, ensuring that no tests are run when the line is active.
No. The SamKnows whitebox is not a broadband modem or router. It operates as a bridge and connects to your existing router.
The Whitebox is a TP-Link router running our custom firmware. It runs as a bridge, meaning that it does not provide any IP addressing and will pass network traffic straight through its ports without causing any conflicts or requiring you to reconfigure your network addressing. SamKnows provides the software.
SamKnows will require your name, address, and email address in order to ship you the Whitebox and set you up as a user on our systems.
We do not collect any personal browsing data that passes through the device. The Whitebox checks your bandwidth usage to decide whether to postpone the tests – for example, if you’re downloading a large file – in order to prevent any skewed test results. The Whitebox simulates the act of browsing to common websites in order to produce a metric for browsing speed rather than use your own browsing.
1. Remove the Whitebox and accessories from the box. The box should include:
A. 1x TP-Link router (model varies)
B. 1x Ethernet cable
C. 1-3x wireless antennae (varies with model)
D. Power supply
E. Instruction & information sheet
2. Attach the antennae to the back of the Whitebox.
3. Connect the Ethernet cable to the port marked “WAN” on the rear of the Whitebox.
4. Connect the other end of the Ethernet cable to a spare port on your broadband router.
5. Disconnect any other wired network devices from your broadband router, and connect them to the SamKnows Whitebox instead via the ports marked 1-4.
6. Connect the power cable to the Whitebox, and insert the power plug into a power socket.
7. Observe the LEDs on the front of the Whitebox. The QSS light should flicker for 30-60 seconds, then turn solid green when the device is operating correctly.
By default the device does not allow any remote access to it. For troubleshooting we may ask you for permission to access the device via a secure SSH tunnel. This will not give us access to your home computers.
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